Draw Con­clu­sions

Boy­er­town, un­beaten Owen J. Roberts play to score­less draw

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Austin Hertzog ahert­zog@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @AustinHert­zog on Twit­ter

BOY­ER­TOWN >> The Owen J. Roberts girls soc­cer team hadn’t faced too much re­sis­tance while start­ing the sea­son on a 13-game win­ning streak.

Wed­nes­day night at Boy­er­town, the Wild­cats got all the re­sis­tance they could han­dle.

All that re­sis­tance still didn’t man­age to put a loss in the Wild­cats’ loss col­umn as Owen J. Roberts and Boy­er­town set­tled for a 0-0 draw at BASH Memo­rial Sta­dium.

The Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Lib­erty Di­vi­sion matchup felt like the hey­day of the OJR-Boy­er­town girls soc­cer ri­valry that has of­ten head­lined the league over the years, with the game’s phys­i­cal­ity match­ing the oc­ca­sion.

“You could feel the ri­valry on the field,” OJR se­nior de­fender Brin­ley Bev­eridge said. “It’s a big ri­valry.”

Owen J. Roberts’ record went to 6-0-1 PAC Lib­erty (9-0-1 PAC) and 13-0-1 over­all af­ter record­ing yet an­other shutout. The reign­ing PAC cham­pion and PIAA semi­fi­nal­ist Wild­cats have al­lowed just one goal all sea­son while net­ting 53, by far the high­est dif­fer­en­tial in south­east Pa.

Boy­er­town went to 3-2-2 PAC Lib­erty (6-2-2 PAC) and 8-3-3 over­all, run­ning its own un­beaten streak to nine games (their last loss dat­ing to Sept. 13 vs. Spring-Ford).

The Bears showed no signs of be­ing phased by a matchup with the No. 1 ranked team in the Dis­trict 1-4A power rank­ings.

“We felt that we had noth­ing to lose and they had ev­ery­thing to,” de­fender Ryane Bern­stiel said, “and that re­ally drove us to play harder and not give up.”

“We try to not worry about who we’re play­ing, but just fo­cus­ing on play­ing as hard as we can ev­ery game,” de­fen­sive mid­fielder Mikayla Moyer said.

The Wild­cats were on the ropes as much as they have been with the Bears car­ry­ing the greater scor­ing threat through­out thanks to Sa­man­tha Gof­fice and Emma El­well’s pace test­ing the OJR de­fense con­sis­tently. Boy­er­town’s best chance came in the fi­nal minute of reg­u­la­tion with El­well in on a break­away. But her shot to the left was gloved wide by OJR sopho­more goal­keeper Sa­man­tha Hughes, a game-saver to be sure.

“The de­fense does a lot for me,” Hughes said. “I don’t get a lot of shots (against me) ev­ery game be­cause of them, so I gave my­self up for them.”

Hughes made four saves, a num­ber that could have been higher if not for the pro­tec­tion of Bev­eridge, fresh­man cen­ter back Mo Weaver, out­side backs Ken­zie Milne and Emily Sands and de­fen­sive mid­fielder Shay­lan Cobb, who was dep­u­tiz­ing for in­jured stand­out Kylee MacLeod (an­kle).

The Bears’ de­fense — Bern­stiel and Aurora Con­rad at cen­ter back, Me­gan Knier and Aimee Toscano at out­side back and Mat­tie Gal­lagher in goal (five saves) — was even bet­ter, deny­ing OJR any qual­ity scor­ing chances over 100 min­utes. The Wild­cats had a valid penalty claim in the first over­time when Han­nah De­la­haye was tripped in the penalty area, but ref­er­ees ad­judged it to be in­ci­den­tal con­tact.

While the Wild­cats ex­uded the body lan­guage of a team that had lost, they rec­og­nize the value of the chal­lenge.

“This was a big men­tal and phys­i­cal test for us. I think we’ll use it,” Hughes said. “And if we play them again in the (PAC) Fi­nal Four, we’ll look back on this.”

Boy­er­town’s path isn’t quite as clear, but Thurs­day will go a long way in see­ing if the Bears can re­turn to the league’s post­sea­son with a meet­ing with Spring-Ford (9-3) on tap.

“I think we’re def­i­nitely pro­gress­ing,” Bern­stiel said. “We haven’t reached our po­ten­tial, but we’ll get there.”

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town’s Rayanne King (40) wins the ball in the mid­field as Owen J. Roberts’ Gretchen Harken tries to get a boot in.

AUSTIN HERTZOG - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town’s Sa­man­tha Gof­fice (11) car­ries the ball for­ward along the side­line as Owen J. Roberts’ Ken­zie Milne gives chase.

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